FEATURE INTERVIEW – “I’m not afraid to show the true person, that is me. ” CRISTINA SCABBIA

Posted on by Oran

It’s been a long time coming, but Lacuna Coil have finally made their return to Ireland off the back of their critically acclaimed new album ‘Black Anima’. Overdrive sat down with vocalist Cristina Scabbia to talk about the new album ‘Black Anima’, their official book and much more…

Alt-Metal stars Lacuna Coil have been representing the Italian metal scene on a global level for more than 20 years, and thankfully show no signs of slowing down any time soon.

We find vocalist front-woman Cristina Scabbia relaxing in the warm confines of her dressing room ahead of tonights show, ready to talk about the bands new album amongst other things…

OD – You’re back with this new album ‘Black Anima’ so, let’s just get stuck into that to start with. Firstly, tell me about the back story behind the album’s title?

CRISTINA – Well, as some of you many know, “Anima” is Italian for “Soul” and for us it’s always about what you have inside. Our music is about what we have lived in our lives, what we feel inside, and I guess the way we see the world.

We wanted to use the word “Black” because not only was it representing the darkness, intensity of this album, but also because we are love anything that has a kind of ‘dark‘ vibe to it, if you know what I mean.

So, ‘Black Anima‘ is not just one single element. It’s representing the fact that we’re all united sometimes through struggles, and nothing is always perfect, and we have to all learn to manage to the darkest moments in order to get through the hard times together.

OD – This being the ninth studio album, do you find that it get’s somewhat easier with each album; or is the challenge still the same when considering logistics/recording techniques and experimenting?

CRISTINA – In a way it became easier because we are at a point with the band where we can really do what we want and our fans know exactly who we are and what we are representing as Lacuna Coil.

So, this time around we really felt very free to create with a sense of no restrictions or boundaries. We never started to write any of our records thinking; “Oh my God, will our fans like this? Will we get onto the radio with this one?

We don’t really like to follow the same path with previous albums, regardless of how well they have done in the past. We like to do things for ourselves and making music that makes us happy is what we’re all about.

Also, people are not stupid and they can tell of your doing something with no heart and soul in it.

We have learned a lot about songwriting over the years, and if we’re not feeling it when it comes to a new song, we just say; “Okay, that’s not working, let’s just put that away and start again.

OD – Besides going gains the trend of bands becoming a little more mainstream in sound, this album is noticeably darker, heavier sound to this album. Was there anything in particular that pushed the band towards this, or was it something that was just naturally growing since 2016’s ‘Delirium’?

CRISTINA – Not really. It was just a very natural sound that came about from the overall recording experience. People don’t realise that when you’re writing music, we have to live with these songs for the rest of our lives and if we’re not happy with them, then that’s gonna just the worst thing ever. [Laughing]

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We are a very open band and people can see when I’m not happy just by the look on my face, as I’m just very honest like that. This would be terrible for us and the fans but in the same breath, just as much as we don’t write especially for a certain type of person. I don’t want to trick our fans by writing something just to please them even if the truth was that we were not passionate about it.

We create music first and foremost, for us. It’s what makes us happy and that’s what life is all about.

Don’t get me wrong, we love our fans but we don’t write for them, we write music for us and have the upmost respect for all people and especially for the people that like what we do.

OD – Last year also saw the release of the bands official book – ‘Nothing Stands in Our Way’ – I’m sure that it’s a very interesting process when working on a project such as this. Did you find that you discovered aspects of the band and yourself from the process of putting it together that you didn’t realise before?

CRISTINA – It was a hard process. It was really crazy and took a lot of time, and a lot of work. When we were first asked to do the book we were a little surprised because obviously, we’re from Italy and there is not too much of a huge metal scene over there; like in other parts of the world.

So, we agreed to do the book and began to collect all the photos, memories, videos and stuff like that from the past, and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy because there were so many  photographs that we couldn’t find the photographers name to credit them. [Laughing]

You have to remember this was back in ’97/’98 and there were not smart phones back then, so it was really difficult to retrieve certain things and we couldn’t remember who took most of the pictures, as so many of them were from fans.

Not only that, there was a lot of stuff that I had totally forgotten, and when we sat down to delve into our past, it was kind of overwhelming at first but also a very interesting exercise for us as a band, as well as personally.

OD – It must have been a great feeling when you eventually had the finished book in your hands?

CRISTINA– Yes, by the time the book was finished it was a really great feeling. I finally realised what we had accomplished. I tend to focus on the present and the future and this was a huge step into our past, and when I saw the book for the first time, I was kind of blown away.

OD – One of the tracks on the album has been catching a lot of attention. I am of course referring to ‘Save Me’, which I’m sure was a very difficult song for you to write.

Without intruding on your private feelings, my question is directed to the sense of opening up about natural human emotions. Do you think that music in general needs to expand on that idea, or do you feel that honest songwriting is currently in a good place?

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CRISTINA – I never really compare myself to others, or our music to other bands. All I know is that I’m not afraid to show the true person that is me. But there’s a part of me that also protects the private side of my life. Music let’s me find that balance.

OD – When you look back over the 20 years in this band, there’s been so many changes that have occurred within popular culture and general human interaction. You’ve mentioned that things are for want of a better term, complicated these days, which I tend to agree with you, but my question to you is, where do you think it’s all gonna end?

CRISTINA – If you look at my social media, I’m very careful on what I’m posting and don’t share a lot of things, as I believe that this is my personal life stuff. Like, I don’t post about my boyfriend, or my family, friends.

If I go out with my friends for something to eat, I don’t publish a picture as I’m protecting them, but at the same time I feel that it’s really important that we are not perfect all the time. Well, I think that all one of the biggest mistakes in the world of social media is the need for some people to be fake. Especially the new generation of kids who seem to think that you are okay if you’re beautiful, rich, filtered and if their make-up is always perfect, all the time.

I want to show the other side of that. I want to show that we can be fragile, we can be smiling on stage but have some really big problems at home, or have our heart broken for different reasons and I want to share this, especially with our fans, because they are the first direct contact with us and we/I want to let them know that they are not alone in struggling with aspects of this world; and in everyday life.

I really want people to believe that they are stronger than they could imagine, and they have the power to get through the difficult times. We all have an inner strength, we just need to find it.

Also, it’s totally NORMAL to not be okay all of the time. People really need to understand that. I’m not 20 years old anymore and I have had some experiences in my life that I would like to share with people and if it helps in any way, then that’s fantastic.

This actually reminds me of when I posted a picture of myself with no make-up on ages ago, and now I’m seeing more and more celebrities doing it.  Don’t get me wrong! I don’t think I’m a celebrity at all [Laughing], it’s just that I’ve noticed a lot of very well-known people starting to do the same thing now.

Anyway, I look at this as a positive thing, because these ‘influential‘ people are starting to show their imperfections to the world and that’s a good thing. I actually search for those imperfections in people, because I believe that this is what makes us all individual and unique.

OD – Given it’s a different genre of music, but have you taken any particular notice of Opeth’s choice to release a bi-lingual album and would you guys ever consider that? I understand that the differences in the lyrics are almost dramatic rather than a slight nuance. But would you like to do this sometime in the future?

CRISTINA – Honestly, no-one has ever really told us that it would be a good or bad decision for us, but for me personally, I prefer to sing in English. I think it’s more appropriate for our music. We’ve included some Italian and even some Latin in the past, only because it was fitting, but I don’t think that I would do an album entirely in Italian.

OD – This tour brings you up to just before Christmas, but what can we expect from Lacuna Coil in 2020?

CRISTINA – Well, a lot more touring happening. We already have things in line for South American and Australia. Next Summer will be very busy for us. There’s a lot of things that I can’t talk about as it’s not been announced yet, but basically we’ll be touring a lot in 2020.

OD – You’ve pretty much performed in most continents now. Any destinations that you have on your bucket list?

CRISTINA – Yes, we’ve played all over the world. I would really love Lacuna Coil to play in Africa. I would also love to go back to Japan, I love that place.

OD – For you personally, what do you hate most about touring and what do you love the most about it?

CRISTINA – To me the most important thing is having a shower at the end of the show. I always let the guys go before me, as I like to take my time and decompress after the show. I also hate dirty tour buses and we’ve had our fair share of those. [Laughing] Other than that, I’m pretty laid back.

OD – Have you ever had any desire to pursue a totally different type of project, something personal, perhaps outside of music altogether?

CRISTINA – Well, I have a lot of hobbies and love drawing, video games, comics etc and I actually do all of the artwork on the drum skins that you can see at our merchandise stand at the shows. But I have to say, it would be very cool to experiment a little more with acting, as I’ve had some experience from doing our music videos; and I really enjoyed the experience.

OD – If there was one thing you could change about this business, what would it be?

CRISTINA – I would like the industry to give more credit to whoever has more potential and real talent, rather than the way certain people look. There are some bands out there that have a lot of money behind them, and other bands that have way more actual talent and are struggling to make it, but because of the financial side of things, the opportunities are given to other artists that are clearly less talented.

Lacuna Coil are on tour NOW, please check this link for dates/ticket information. New album ‘Black Anima‘ is available from all good record stores, online and streaming sites.

Overdrive will have the review of Lacuna CoilEluveitie / Infected Rain – Academy, Ireland 14.11.19 in the coming days.

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Oran O’Beirne (Overdrive.ie) & Cristina Scabbia – Lacuna Coil

Oran O’Beirne

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